Reading through The Ten Faces of Innovation, I identified more than one persona that I felt was representative of my own outlook and approach to work. I feel that I most closely resemble the person of “The Anthropologist”; my first step in approaching any task is almost always to stand back and observe the situation. I’ve always felt the need to carefully analyze my environment in order to identify a problem and deconstruct it before formulating a problem-solving strategy. I guess you can say I’m not much of an “action” person. However, observation can help to identify problems and potential solutions, anticipate the consequences of those solutions, and ultimately make informed decisions on the best course of action.
I also identify with “The Caregiver”, and I feel that it should represent a significant role in library service. In particular, public and academic libraries experience a great deal of traffic, and need to focus on fostering positive relationships with their constituent communities. Approaching library service as a business, “The Caregiver” can help to provide effective “customer service”, making an effort to understand each patron and their information-seeking goals, and guide them through the process in a way that ensures their satisfaction.
There are also several personae in which I feel my own outlook is seriously lacking. The most substantial of these is “The Experimenter”. In many ways, I feel that this persona is antithetical or incompatible with that of “The Anthropologist”. Experimenters take risks, try new ideas and approaches, and rely less on careful consideration of the variables and more on trial and error. My own approach is the “safer” path; I always weigh my options carefully before proceeding. Experimenting and trying new things is an essential part of innovation because it injects fresh ideas into a project, and I can see that this is an area in which I could use some development.
People can adopt multiple roles; however, I do not believe that one person can occupy every role. The type of innovation explored in this book entails the cooperation and collaboration of a team whose personae are complementary. Teams can achieve success in a way that eludes individuals because they incorporate each member’s strengths and make up for each member’s weaknesses.